Veterinary Dermatology Services



Initial Consultation:

The initial consult typically runs 60 minutes and includes a detailed history, review of previous medical records, and a thorough physical exam.  During the appointment skin/ear cytology may be performed to help identify secondary infections and parasites.  Based on exam findings and history you will be given a medical treatment plan, including cost estimate, and any recommended additional diagnostics.  Written discharge instructions will be provided and your regular veterinarian will receive a complete visit summary.  You can expect to be at the clinic for approximately 1.5 hours during your pets initial consultation.


Re-check Examination:

A re-check examination typically lasts 30 minutes, and it includes a review of the previous visit, a progress report, and discussion about your pet’s response to therapy.  Skin and/or ear cytology may also be required to determine if any secondary infections have been resolved.


Brief Re-check Examination:

This is a brief focused examination that usually runs about 15 minutes and is used to monitor ongoing progress in pets with established treatment plans.

Diagnostic Services

Intradermal Skin Testing 

Dermatology and Allergy - Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists

Intradermal skin testing measures your pet’s immune (histamine) response to airborne allergens.  This test involves twilight sedation.  An area under the arm is shaved and local allergens are injected just under the surface of the skin.  A hive is formed at the allergen injection site to which your pet is most sensitive.  The strongest positive reactions are used to formulate a customized cocktail of allergens used to desensitize the immune system.  In order for skin testing to be performed the patient must be free of antihistamines for 1 week, oral steroids for 2 weeks, and injectable steroids for 4 weeks. 

Serum Allergy Testing

Dermatology and Allergy - Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists

Serum allergy testing measures your pet’s antibody response to airborne allergens.  This test involves a blood draw and results are usually available within 2 weeks.  The strongest positive reactions are used to formulate a customized cocktail of allergens used to desensitize the immune system.


Skin Biopsy and Histopathology

Dermatology and Allergy - Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists

Some skin diseases and masses are impossible to diagnose on physical exam alone.  A small punch biopsy of the skin is submitted to a veterinary pathologist who will look at the sample at the cellular level and provide a written diagnosis based on microscopic findings.  A treatment plan will then be established with Dr. Eckholm.


Dermatology and Allergy - Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists

Cryotherapy is a simple, easy way to remove small skin growths.  This procedure involves freezing the growth with a very cold substance (nitrous oxide).  The growth will form a scab and will typically fall off within a week or two.  This procedure is fast and in most cases does not require sedation. 

Video Otoscopy

A video otoscope is used to magnify and visualize the ear canal and ear drum.  It is often indicated to flush the ear canal in patients with chronic ear infections.  It can also be used to remove small growths or foreign material, such as foxtails.  This procedure involves general anesthesia and is performed on an out-patient basis. 

Medication Refills

Most prescription refills can be ordered through our prescription portal and delivered directly to your home.  We appreciate you ordering medications through Golden Gate Veterinary Specialists.  We strive to keep our pricing competitive with other online pharmacies.  Ordering through us allows Dr. Eckholm to monitor progress to be sure medications are being administered correctly. Your pets prescriptions are filled by the very technicians that care for your pet when they come into the clinic.  Please allow 48 hours for prescriptions to be refilled.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What can a specialist do for my pets that a primary veterinarian cannot do?
Dr. Eckholm is a board certified veterinary dermatologist. She received advanced training in dermatology during her residency and has been practicing veterinary dermatology exclusively for the last 11 years. This level of expertise allows her to more quickly identify the root cause of the dermatological problems and establish a diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.
How can allergy testing and immunotherapy help my pet?
Allergy testing helps to identify airborne allergies (atopic dermatitis) that can be the root cause of your pet’s ear and skin infections, as well as itch and discomfort. Immunotherapy is the only way to diminish or eliminate your pet’s allergies. It is safe and effective in 70% of animals. If effective, your pet will not need lifelong medications that can be expensive and have side effects. Immunotherapy should be managed by a veterinary dermatologist. It is both an art and science, and it takes the experience of a highly trained veterinary dermatologist to achieve successful outcomes.
Do I need a referral from my pet’s primary veterinarian?
No, if you feel your pet is in need of specialized dermatology care feel free to call and schedule a consultation at 415-726-2458. Dr. Eckholm will communicate with your pet’s primary veterinarian on established diagnoses and treatment plans.
Is specialty veterinary care more expensive than primary veterinary care?
Initial examinations can be more expensive, but this investment buys you more time with Dr. Eckholm, as our initial consultations last one hour; furthermore, her residency training and years of experience enable her to solve problems efficiently. Not only does this save money in the long run, but more importantly, leads to less pain, itch, and discomfort for your pet, and puts her on the road to recovery sooner rather than later!
Can allergy testing be done on the same day as a consult?
Yes, allergy testing can be performed on the same day as your pet’s consultation. If you are interested in intradermal skin testing your pet should fast the morning of the appointment. In order to perform allergy testing your pet should not have received any steroids for 2 weeks prior to the appointment, and antihistamines should be withdrawn 1 week prior to the testing.